let's make a list of every mistake we've made with large format!

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by chris_jordan|3, Aug 6, 2002.

  1. I must admit for starters that my personal error list is pretty

    while loading film:
    --tore open a film package with the light still on
    --opened the box in the dark and dumped all the film on the wet
    bathroom floor
    --slid a whole box of exposed film off the edge of the sink... into
    the open toilet (processed it anyway and it came out fine)
    --turned the light back on while the film box was still open.

    and while photographing:
    --pulled the slide before closing the lens
    --never pulled the slide at all
    --didn't put the slide back in before pulling the film holder out
    --exposed film that was already exposed
    --pulled the slide halfway out and the whole film holder came out
    --picked up the camera/tripod and walked away with the shutter still
    open & film exposing;
    --wrong light meter ASA setting so everything wayyy overexposed
    --shot B&W film thinking it was color
    --pulled the slide thinking it was empty, and there was film in there
    --and vice versa: once i exposed photos in a whole set of empty film

    but i've never loaded the film upside down! looking forward to that

    ~cj (Seattle)
  2. lwg


    Pulled the wrong dark slide.

    Bumped the focal plane shutter on the speed graphic partially closed - got a nice panoramic of the bottom of the image.

    Pulled the slide to clean the holder, and found a sheet of film - exposed I think.

    Miscounted and took a picture with an empty holder.
  3. See this list In additional, never submit all your film from a job to the lab for developing at the same time. If they mess it, you are $@%&%#)!!
  4. Had a lab process my Aerial Panchromatic sheet films under safelight.
  5. Thinking of a list of the many things that I've done wrong, I'm reminded of that TV advertisement: "You have reached the end of the Internet. You have seen it all."
  6. Inserted film holder into back of camera and pulled darkslide out of back, versus front of holder.
  7. Tried to focus with the film holder on the camera...wondered how come I could not see a thing! Same as Chris, took 4 exposures 8x10 of a place that took me 4 hour and 2 dramamine to get there, all on empty holders! Forgot to change the filter exposure compensation on the meter....everthing over/underexposed. And of course, if there is a way to mess up pulling the slide or opening/closing the lens I have done it. :)))
  8. -bought the doran daylight processing tank.

    -didnt pay attention to those who said that uniroller drums was the easiest way to process b+w sheets.

    -Spent more on the doran tank than the roller base and drum eventually cost me.
  9. Forgot to replace the water in my tray (68 F) for the developer. Lost 4 8x10 sheets.
  10. Load everything in the van including camera gear, tripod, camping gear, cooler.... drive for 6 hours to get there to discover that the cooler which hold films and film holders stayed home.... did I mention both coolers are same dimensions and color..? :)
  11. watching my ground glass plummet to the ground( in slow-mo, just like when i go over the bars on a motorcycle)... then shatter.

    damn those pesky grafloks... which position is 'locked' again?

    out or in?


    p.s. i can never remember.
  12. Chris, I can't remember ever making a mistake with large format. Then, again, at my age, it's difficult to remember anything at all. I do remember shooting my mother's birthday party with empty film holders. She never allowed me forget that one!
  13. How about inserting Fuji Readyloads backwards... Or using them in the Polaroid holder and by habit setting the roller before I pulled them.

    Then there was the time I was on a workshop and we were all crammed together trying to get our own versions of the same shot. I come out from under the cloth, set my lens, pull the slide, reach down and grab the cable release and fire away -- only to hear the camera belonging to the guy next to me fire...
  14. Developed in PMK forgetting to mix the A solution (pyro) with the rest of the formula. I was developing by inspection, and after a half hour without any highlights showing up, it dawned on me what was happening.....NOTHING. That left a pit in my stomache for the rest of the night.
  15. Ah, you guys did not mention the Darkroom, How about the typical one, turn on the light to inspect the recently developed sheet, just to notice you left the brand new box with 99 sheets left open and out of the envelop!
  16. Jorge; We had a small mouse chew into a Kodak Yellow Box that had a 42" wide roll by 100 feet of camera projection film...We lost only a few feet due to the room light; but the entire edge of the roll was ruined.....I believe the roll was about 420 bucks..
  17. I primarily shoot rollfilm, so I can't say that I've had all of the loading problem you have had, but one thing I regularly do at least one time per shoot is shoot my overs and unders of a shot on the same frame without advancing.

    The other thing I do is spend an hour composing the perfect 4x5 shot on the ground glass before realizing I'm not shooting 4x5, I'm shooting 6x9. This would happen all the time with my 135mm symmar convertible, which I found I have an inate ability to setup perfectly for 4x5 shoots that I was never going to shoot. I highly recommend it as the ideal starting 4x5 lens. As a 6x9 I am just getting the hang of setting up properly with it, as it doesn't correspond closely to any focal length I used regularly in 35mm. That said I still think it's a great lens, but I'm glad to have a 90mm finally to use as my normal lens!!
  18. Tried to focus with the inside cap on the lens. That took a while to figure out.

    Pulled the slide with the lens still at full aperture.

    'sprung' the screen away from the back while wrestling with a sticky slide.

  19. St. John 21:25. While written about Jesus also applies to mistakes I've made in large format.
  20. Used the wrong pair of infinity stops for the lens chosen - Super Speed Graphic.

    Forgot to lock the track on the middle position when shooting with Normal lenses (had it on back position for wide lenses) - Super Technika V.

    Jorge...I came VERY CLOSE to turning on the lights a couple of weeks ago with a new box a paper open!!!

    J. P. Mose
  21. Bringing my girlfriend along on a shoot/hike.

    Chris J (Boston)
  22. Brought a LEICA style cable release instead of the Compur "regular" type.
  23. Tried to put the roll film adaptor under the ground glass (which I
    didn't realize could be removed) and scratched the GG 4 minutes after
    receiving the camera. This had repercussions. When I moved to real
    sheet film, I used to remove the ground glass and try to attach my
    Fidelity film holder to the back standard with the flimsy sliding
    pieces of metal (for use with Polaroid adaptors). Did this for
    months (which is why the local lab knows its me when I sign my
    order "King of Light Leaks"), then had an epiphany and slid the film
    adaptor under the GG. During all this time owned several books on
    LF, but didn't read them because I think information is somehow
    mysteriously transferred by the mere ownership of books. (Ask me
    about my chess library.)

    Shot an entire 10 sheet box of ISO 100 film with the meter set for

    Carefully composed a picture, in front of a gathering crowd of the
    curious/admiring, then spoiled the effect by doing a face plant
    by tripping over my camera bag when I went to set aperture/shutter
    speed on the lens.

    Bought a used lens, and spent hours claiming I had been ripped off
    until I thought to remove the rear lens cap.

    Loaded my film holders, and only when I took one out of the bag did I
    notice the end flap hanging open.

    Unzipped my changing bag after loading film holders, and noticed
    several sheets of film lying on top of the film holders.

    Enough. I have established my moron credentials....
  24. Reversed a telephoto lens through the viewing screen on my baby linhof, used plain water as fix, developed color print in black and white chemistry... were all human!
  25. - Drove two hours to a remote location, just to realize that my tripod was still on the front porch.

    - Pulled the darkslide out of the RFH, just to watch the RFH loosen and fall off the camera. I had missed to secure the lower graflok lock.

    - Came back from a two-week drive around the American southwest - my first roadtrip with an LF camera, had about 50 4x5 sheets developed. Ten came back black, ten came back white - I must have made all the exposure mistakes listed above. I nearly gave up on LF then, until I examined the remaining sheets with a lupe.

    - And most recently: While vacationing in Buer valley, western Norway, I went on a day-hike up across a 4000ft pass. Somewhere along the trail my tripod fell off the backpack, and because of the heavy rain at the time I did not notice until one or two hours later. I went back over the pass three times but could not find the tripod. Exhausted and soaked, I decided to continue across the pass instead of going back. On the way down I met an old farmer who asked me if I missed something - he had found my $$$ Gitzo CF tripod and put it in his cabin, was on his way to the police station to report it found. It is always a delight to meet such honest people, and I am now preparing a print for him as a thank you. Best regards, Åke
  26. My biggest mistake was to start with LF photography at all :) :)
  27. While shooting a water falls,I walked away from the camera & tripod for a minute.My mistake was underestimating the wind speed.The whole thing blew over into the creek!This cost me $125 to have the lens dried & fixed.Worse than that,there was a school class trip watching this.A 12 year old girl asked if I meant to do this....
  28. Absent-mindedly handing my daughter a lens to hold while I changed to my bag bellows only to hear a thud when hit the ground. It turned out that she was standing on my right side, not my left ... oops!
  29. This is probably a fairly common mistake. I metered for f/32, opened my lens wide open (f/4.5) to focus and then forgot to stop back down for the shot. Can you say overexposed?
  30. I got into the format. Good bye $.

    Confucious says, "Your problems are obvious. Stop making errors."
  32. ha!!!!!!! what a wonderful list so far.

    okay, here's a horrendous story i heard from Duane Michael in a lecture he gave: he was hired to shoot a wedding of some rich and famous people. there was no other photographer there-- he was it.
    he shot the whole wedding with his Leica, but forgot to re-set the parallax when he changed lenses, so every single photo came out completely blurry. The couple was furious, but agreed to stage a SECOND entire wedding, just to get photos. So they invited all their friends back, put on all the tuxedos and dresses and got more flowers and stuff, and went through the whole thing again, and Duane photographed it all again, and made the EXACT SAME MISTAKE!!!!!!

    he said that was his first and last wedding assignment...

  33. Wasting my tiume reading this forum? Sometime I wonder ... but I have met some indispensible folks here.

  34. I once wound up a Speed Graphic's focal plane shutter with the dark slide out and the front shutter open. For those of you who aren't acquainted with these beasts, the fp shutter isn't self-capping.


  35. All the above and add this: On the rarest of New Years Days, Tioga pass was open to traffic a few years back---what an opportunity! Tenaya Lake in her winter glory! Too bad I left my cable release in Fresno. Then theres the time I forgot to reverse some of the dark slide after shooting, or worse, after loading, and not realizing it until I'm out in the field. Oh yes! Tray developing film by putting the film in the fix before the developer---hey, its dark in the darkroom, what good are different color trays if you can't see them? Or forgetting the Kodak lens cleaning juice and using vodka instead because thats all we had in camp. I'm still in denial about the rest of the mistakes. Maybe after a few years of therapy I'll be able to post more. Cheers!
  36. Just today. drove 4 hours, beautiful day, azure blue skies....set up camera...exited about the photo....forgot &$"%&%# dark cloth at home.....
  37. Let's just say photo-flo is not an acceptable substitute for selenium toner.
  38. Did some good architectural shots with one corner of my bag bellows mis-seated. Fogged 18 sheets of 4x5 Provia. I don't like to think about it.
  39. been in large format about 2 months

    mistake 1 - very first 6 sheets I remembered as I fixed them that I had forgotten to add the developer concentrate to one litre of water at exactly 20 centigrade. Oh well more blank sheets to practice fitting into dev tanks dark slides etc.

    mistake 2 - drove 200 miles in 4 hours to north wales and found no tripod in car boot (trunk to you)

    mistake 3 - usual one of forgetting to close lens before removing dark slide

    mistake 4 - got concentration of developer wrong by factor of 10

  40. After not shooting for a while I was in the darkroom with lights on and started opening 8x10 holders with black sides out, thinking they were empty. Exposed two b/w portraits, so had to call subjects back (to the immense irritation of one of them), but two new portraits were among the very best we’ve ever done.

    When switching from TMax100 to Tri-X I lost track of two 5x7 holders which still had the slower film in them and exposed at 160 instead of 64.

    In motel bathroom in pitch-black darkness at 4:00 am (I had to wait that long for the temperature to drop in this non-ac unit), with the trays in the bathtub I missed the developer (the shower curtain through me off) and put the films in the stop bath. I managed not to panic, put the films in the developer, and proceeded from there with no perceptible loss of quality in the negatives.
  41. Here is another one, stack filters, forget to check vigneting. Nice round circle.....
  42. 1) I thought there was something wrong with my Polaroid holder. Every time I pulled out the tab on the film, the film came right out, causing chemical gunge to flow out all over the rollers.

    This only happened intermittently, finally I discovered the large lettering on the film envelope which indicated which side needed to be pointed at the lens.

    2) Used a Sekonic light meter for nearly 10 months before realising that my exposures were all f**ked because the light meter was mis calibrated by 1.3 stops. Luckily my expertise with Polaroid film ;-) see above meant that at least some of my exposures were still rather nice.
  43. When I was 22, I was photographing on an ice covered pond in Columbia Missouri. I fell through the ice - only up to my waist - but the camera equipment was completely drenched. I stood there in the frigid water for about a minute in complete disbelief while friends urged me to get out.

    Who has ever done anything more dumb than that? - Anthony
  44. [1] Leaving girlfriend asleep in car while I'm photographing steel mill in Cleveland's Flats. Amazing how women get agitated at being abandoned in sketchy neighborhoods. How come we never see that on the "things not to forget" list for shooting LF?

    [2] Next trip, asking girlfriend to grab film holders for me on the way out the door, not realizing that both my 5x7 and 4x5 holders were on the counter. Actually took me 10 seconds to figure out why the 5x7 holders wouldn't fit into my B&J 4x5.

    [3] Identifying wrong film holder as the one with the light leak.
  45. After coming back from a trip to Scandinavia: put the (old-type) Readyload envelopes on the darkroom table to sort the front and the back sheets into separate boxes. Switched on the main power for all the darkroom stuff so the Jobo can get up to temperature. Went outside again to do something else (bright sunshine outside). Come back in, close darkroom door, switch off main lights and start sorting the film. After a minute or two, when the eyes got adjusted to the dark I suddenly realize I can see the outline of the enlarger... panic...

    Before I left for the trip I had done some tests with orthochromatic film and used a special safelight with a really dark red filter for that. That one is not visible with the room lights on, and coming in from the sun my eyes also needed time to adjust... that safelight is usually not plugged in and has no extra switch in the power cord. Of course it had been switched on again with the main power...
    I developed the film sheets anyway but they were fogged to about zone VI. I tried reducer to clear some of it, but they were still unprintable. Lost about 16 sheets that way...

    Otherwise, not locking down the movements on my camera and shifting that carefully composed image when inserting the holder, forgetting to stop down the lens, having the cable release in front of the lens, etc., etc.....

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